Enabling and the Homeless Part Two

enabling Burien homelessEnabling and the Homeless Part Two
In our last article we mainly talked about what enabling is and why it is wrong. We talked about some groups that sometimes do more enabling than empowering. In this article we are going to speak on what is not enabling and how to empower the homeless, addict/alcoholic, mentally ill, working poor in Burien.

Those who are against the enabling of people have very good intentions. They want to hold people accountable for their actions. They believe there are consequences for inappropriate behavior and decisions. They do not believe society is responsible for every wrong decision a person makes in their life. They are correct in their perspective. However the problem at times with these group of people is they fail to see the difference between enabling and empowering. They fail to see that the purpose of many social service programs is not to enable, but to empower. To give hope. (The concept of giving hope to the hopeless will be discussed in an upcoming article.) They fail to see meeting specific needs of the homeless is not enabling, it is called being humanitarian. It is called seeing the homeless as human beings, not animals. It is called giving people dignity.Meeting Basic Needs
Meeting the basic needs of human beings should not be considered as enabling. Providing food and clothing to the homeless, regardless of who they are or how they become homeless, should not be seen as enabling. It is called meeting the basic needs of a person to help them to stay alive. It is called seeing the homeless as human beings, not animals. (Sadly more seem to care about animals than they do people.) It is called helping people stay alive with the hope that they will be able to see changes in their life and ultimately become productive citizens in our community. Thus then having the ability to give back. (There are multiple stories of this happening.)

Many individuals that are homeless are not criminals and addicts. They can be the working poor, elderly with low income, mentally ill, the disenchanted, hopeless, disenfranchised, helpless, abused, or who knows what else is their story. A person should not have to ‘jump through a bunch of hoops’ to determine if they are qualified or worthy enough to receive a meal and clothing.

Providing a shower should not be seen as enabling. Let’s get real. People spend hundreds a dollars a year to get their poodle ‘looking nice’. It’s an animal, and yet people are against human beings in need getting a free shower. The homeless are human beings, not pieces of garbage. (We will address this in a future article. As long as some people see the homeless as scum of the earth, we will be further away from solving the homeless problem.)

Basic dental and health services can help prevent the spread of disease, can reduce the need for more expensive procedures. they also let a person know they have value and worth, which helps towards a person doing more to improve their life.  (We are going to talk about this in a future article.)

When Enabling is Actually Empowering
When people are given assistance and resources to improve their life, and there is some accountability attached to the services, individuals can be empowered to make positive changes in their life. In fact amazing things can happen. Many times for those who have experienced dramatic change in their life, the process all started at a food bank, a feeding program, a shelter. Their basic needs were meet, they were given hope, they were provided access to other resources, and they ultimately changed their life and they are now helping others to change their life.

People are more willing to reach out for help when they know that people care. Providing a hot meal, providing a clean shirt, providing a shower, providing a smile can literally change a life. You add that with basic dental and medical, along with low income housing options, addiction treatment, mental health services, opportunity for basic employment, and you have come up with some solutions to the homelessness crisis. You add the spiritual piece to all this and a life can be totally transformed.

Yes, it is ultimately the responsibility of the person to become transformed, but we all can have a part in that process by empowering individuals, starting at meeting basic needs.

Those who are being empowered must be held accountable for their behavior. If they want to obtain social services they need to respect those who help them. Inappropriate behavior should not be tolerated. Some individuals should be denied services because they have shown they are dangerous to others. Some should be denied services because they have clearly shown they are taking advantage of the services and have no desire to change. Illegal behavior should not be tolerated on the premises where services are being provided.

The Spiritual Piece
Sadly there are those who support helping the homeless but have a total disdain to those that are faith based who provide social services. They accuse them of being racist, bigoted, prejudices, etc. It is sad because almost all faith based social service agencies but no stipulation as to who receives services. It is sad because almost all faith based programs have a greater success at seeing lives changed than non faith based organizations. It is sad because most social service programs have many volunteers who are with based whether the organization itself is faith based. For those liberals/progressives who hate those who believe they are called to sacrifice their comfort for the sake of the less fortunate is hypocrisy. Those who condemn or refuse to support faith based social service organizations are part of the problem, not the solution. (We will be talking on this in upcoming articles.)

The Negatives
Yes there are negatives. Will some people take advantage of the services provided? Absolutely!! Actually most may take advantage of the services, especially the addict/alcoholic and mentally ill. Do most people change? Absolutely not!! Just look at the ‘normals’ of society, most of them never change.

Some people will live their whole life as victims. Sadly there are plenty of liberals/progressives that will convince them they are nothing but victims and that society owes them everything. Sadly some individuals will never be held accountable for their unhealthy mindsets, bad actions. Some will die ‘taking advantage of the system’. We can focus on them or those who become transformed. It is a choice. It is not the role of any person or organization to change people. It is their role to equip people so they can change.

So are you part of the solution to the homelessness problem or part of the problem?
Are you an enabler or one who empowers?
Are you one of those who claim to care and then attack ever organization that does care? Are you one that can only see the homeless as victims or one that can only see them as scum of the earth? Are you one who continuously provides help with no accountability or one who refuses to provide help? Are you one that talks the talk but does not walk the walk? Are you one who claims to care but then attacks those of faith who care?  Are you one who sees human beings as only animals? Are you part of the problem or the solution?

Enabling and the Homeless Part One

In the future we will speaking on ‘Giving Hope to the Hopeless’, “How Meeting basic Needs Can Change Lives’, ‘The Spiritual Component’, and more testimonials of lives changed and not changed.

P.S. Here is a testimony of a person who was a major criminal in Burien. Ed was one of the major homeless criminals in Burien. A life can be transformed.

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